When I tell people the story of how our wonderful company started out – it really helps to paint a picture about who we are and why our company is so genuinely grounded.
Amy and I were working and studying (Amy is an artist by training and I was training to be a pilot). We thought the time we were spending apart was becoming pretty ridiculous and I was frustrated with the prospect of having to move from Auckland to gain employment once my study finished.
Following high school I had trained as a computer technician and had a couple of jobs in the industry. We were typical just into our twenties, full of fun, no savings kids when I hatched the idea that we should start our own business. I remember the moment as clear as mud. We were driving down Gavin Street in Grandma’s 1980 something Honda City when i turned to Amy and said “We should start an IT company”. Full of support as Amy was and with plenty of finance experience having worked for a major bank while studying she knew the financial side of the business was going to need her guidance.
I was the ideas guy, while Amy had business acumen and a sensible side to her. Within a few weeks I had my portable gas BBQ cooker case, which carried my Warehouse Stationery receipt book, orange handled screwdriver and a random selection of screws and cables and the Honda City was ready with a new warrant. To start my business I simply put an ad in the East & Bays courier; PC REPAIR Services – Call Jason with the home phone number. Then we waited. One morning around 11AM I was still in bed when Amy’s Dad ran into the room with the portable phone. JASON! WAKE UP! Some Joker’s on the phone asking about PC REPAIRS!
I jumped into action and talked the client through the idea of how the service was going to work. I didn’t really know, but it got me the service call and away I went. I was very nervous. Tee shirt, shorts and not a clue as to how to be a “business owner”. I remember Amy giving me a big hug before I left and letting me know I was going to do us proud!
Before you know it – our business was turning over $300 a week. BOOM.
We continued advertising and spent the next two years researching our new industry, building business processes and understanding what it was to provide excellent service to our clients. Amy had been taught exemplary customer service skills and was quick to coach me in how to make our clients king.
Typically our clients were home users and business with one computer.
I thought we were pretty good at what we did, and clients were starting to refer their friends. I always asked them, if you are happy with our service, please tell your friends and they did. Before long I had two jobs to attend per day and things were great. I’m not going to say we were making any money, but we were certainly able to pay our bills. In my first full year the company turned over around $25,000.
I was ready for growth. Serious growth. I jumped onto Trade Me and looked up businesses for sale. I spotted a company for sale for $60,000. It was a perfectly aligned business. The problem was I didn’t have $60,000. Amy and I did the math and realised we had a grand total of $7000 in the bank. That was everything. Not just our business money but all our personal savings as well. People are always willing to negotiate. I purchased that company for $6000.
Within weeks the phone started to ring. Not fantastic ringing, but it rang. In the database of clients were a lot of people who had engaged with this company once and we had a lot of contact details. Amy being awesome decided to create a direct letter mail out. We posted that to every single mailing address we had and within 12 months had a business which was generating $250,000 a year in sales.
Before long Thomas joined us as our first employee. Then Keith. Fast forward to 2008 and I was on the hunt for another opportunity which lead to the acquisition of IT Nexus (thus the name) all paid for with money the company was making. Brad, Rhys and Ben joined our team as part of that deal. 2008 was also the first year we hit $1 Million in turn over.
12 years later Belton employs 70 staff and is one of the most successful IT companies in Auckland.
We have come a long way, tripping over the same problems and walking the same path as most small business owners. That’s why we understand you, your unique needs and problems.
Although we are all grown up now with a big office and things like uniforms and company cars, it doesn’t change who we are, where we have been or how we treat our clients.
You, our clients, made us the success we are today. And we both thank you.
Jason and Amy Agnew.
Jason and his young family, having spent the past several years living aboard his Ex-Navy research vessel, Takapu 2, have recently made the decision to move permanently to the island. He has bought a house on Moa Ave in Oneroa and is diving into an active role in the Waiheke community. Supporting local charities, running a local Dads for Dads social group and taking an admin role on the Waiheke Community page, Jason has made Waiheke his forever home and is looking to add value to the community. Make sure next time you see him to have a chat and get to know a bit more about his plans and passion for the industry and the Island.
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